January 1, 2013 – Des Moines, IA
By Stephanie Jutila, President and CEO
In December 1979, the Des Moines Botanical Center opened to much fanfare and anticipation. I wish I could dial back time to experience the excitement in Des Moines in 1979, when the community welcomed both a brand-new Botanical Center and a Civic Center. Now, 33 years later, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden will breathe new life into the iconic domed conservatory and adjacent building.
The building will be updated by repositioning the guest and facility services in preparation for expanding our audience and programs. Although guests to the Botanical Garden will cross the same threshold to enter the building, the experience will be refreshingly transformative.
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden takes horticulture seriously, which means plants are front and center. Our new lobby will be a horticultural showpiece, adorned with Des Moines’ first interior living wall.
The new garden shop will be part of the lobby, located where we currently have offices. Other updates to the lobby include changes to the path guiding guests to the tropical dome to start their garden visit and a new admissions desk.
The paths inside the geodesic dome will be reorganized so visitors will exit the conservatory through a center courtyard to reach the outdoor gardens.
The outdoor garden elements to be completed in phase I include a water garden, a shade tree allée, a walled garden with beautiful perennial borders and a conifer gravel garden with year-round interest. More aspects of the exterior gardens will continue to expand in a multi-year, multi-phased effort.
The Botanical Garden’s bonsai collection will be displayed on the northern end of the western courtyard.
The new café will be sited on the southern end of the courtyard, featuring outdoor seating and views of the water garden and urban landscape beyond.
The North Wing meeting rooms will be transformed to include the addition of a botany science lab. An elevator will be added to the balcony in the dome. And the 1979 mechanics of the building will receive an overhaul.
Come and visit us often and check on our progress as the transformations unfold in 2013. For further information on the Phase I updates, go to dmbotanicalgarden.com.
On January 1, 2013 the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden launched a new beginning. After years of planning, a bold vision, generous community support and a new staff, the Botanical Garden assumed operatorship of a 34-year old conservatory and 14 acres of land bordering the Des Moines River. Armed with a mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants, we are a garden now. The Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) privately governed, not-for-profit institution with ten years of operating support at $645,000 per year from the City of Des Moines, Des Moines Water Works and Bravo Greater Des Moines. In addition, the Phase II Endowment goal will grow the total endowment to $3.6 million.